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RNLI Burnham-on-Crouch volunteers receive tasking approaching seven hours

Lifeboats News Release

A near seven hour call out for the volunteers of RNLI Burnham-on-Crouch commenced when they received a tasking from HM Coastguard at 3.25pm on Saturday 12 August 2023 to assist a 26’ sailing vessel.

RNLI/Peter Harris

Atlantic Class Tony & Robert Britt

The sailing vessel had sustained damage to her sail and had grounded just east of Whitaker Beacon whilst en route from Sheerness to Brightlingsea with two people onboard, both wearing lifejackets.

The Atlantic class lifeboat Tony and Robert Britt with four crew members onboard was launched into rough seas and a south westerly wind force five-six (22-27 knots) and proceeded to scene where they were joined by their colleagues from RNLI Sheerness aboard their all-weather lifeboat (ALB).

Following discussion between the two lifeboat crews it was decided that the Atlantic class lifeboat was more suitable due to its size to approach the grounded casualty vessel. Two volunteer crew members boarded the casualty in order to assess for any damage or water ingress.

The two volunteer crew members from RNLI Burnham-on-Crouch remained on the casualty vessel and laid out their anchor to prevent the casualty being pushed further aground.

On further inspection it was discovered that in addition to the damaged sail, the casualty had also sustained rudder damage with the tiller jammed in a central position resulting in the casualty vessel being unable to proceed to her destination in Brightlingsea even under engine power.

The decision was made by the two lifeboat crews that given the sea and wind conditions both lifeboats were to remain on scene until the casualty had fully re-floated on the rising tide.

Once the casualty had re-floated, the situation was assessed. It was decided that the safest course of action was to establish a tow line with RNLI Burnham-on-Crouch. The sailing vessel was towed back into the safety of Burnham Yacht Harbour arriving shortly before 10pm bringing an end to a truly gruelling rescue.

RNLI Media contacts

For more information e-mail Peter Harris, RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer: [email protected]

Key facts about the RNLI

The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.

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Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.